Cardinal Ratzinger’s Milestones
1996, Cardinal Ratzinger published an in-depth interview
of himself titled Salt of the Earth1
and in 1997 an autobiography called Milestones: Memoirs
These books are important if we consider the high post the
Cardinal holds in the Vatican. In this second article (Part
I appeared in The Angelus, March, 1999), we continued
our review of Milestones to better understand the
current crisis in the Catholic Church.
NOVEL NOTION OF TRADITION
is a need, therefore, to be on guard: When Cardinal Ratzinger
defends the Catholic position against the "sola
scriptura" of the Lutheran heretics, it is necessary
to pay attention to what he means by "revelation"
and "tradition." In the passage from Milestones
in which he rebuts the criticism that seminary professor
Schmaus had levied against him earlier, Cardinal Ratzinger
establishes, in fact, as we have seen, a link between revelation
and tradition, but he does so in the light of the subjective
concept of revelation that he professes. He writes that
"an essential element of Scripture is the Church as
understanding subject, and with this the fundamental sense
of tradition is already given" (p.109).
is this affirmation to be understood? It must be taken according
to the notion of revelation which we have seen earlier (see
SISINONO, March 1999). He is not talking about the
Church which, aided by the Holy Ghost, keeps the deposit
of revealed truth unchanged down the ages, explaining it,
indeed, but without the power to alter it by a jot or tittle.
What he does mean, on the contrary, is the Church which,
taken as "understanding" or "perceiving"
subject, is necessary for revelation to exist. He means
the Church conceived as subject, which for that reason becomes
a constitutive element of revelation by taking possession
of it, and plays an active, creative role in its relation
to revelation. Under this perspective, the Church's tie
to revelation means that Scripture depends upon the Church
as "knowing subject" in order to be Revelation.
The Cardinal writes, in fact, that Revelation "is not
simply identical” to Scripture, it is always greater than
"what is merely written down" (op. cit.,
though, that what is outside Holy Scripture is not, according
to the Cardinal, provided by oral tradition ("sine
highlight this fact, compare his notion to what was set
forth by the Council of Trent and reiterated by Vatican
I. Of tradition it is said that the Church "holds...also
the traditions themselves, those that appertain both to
faith and to morals, as having been dictated either by Christ's
own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved
in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession"
(Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, 783).
And from the same place: "...[p]erceiving that this
truth and instruction are contained in the written books
and in the unwritten traditions, which have been received
by the apostles from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from
the apostles themselves, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit,
have come down even to us, transmitted as it were from hand
to hand ….…"
so, according to the Cardinal. For him, what is not contained
in Sacred Scripture is not given objectively by tradition,
as that has always been understood and defined by the Church
through the centuries. On the contrary, it is given by the
"understanding subject" (the Church) which, making
up a part of Revelation as an essential constitutive element,
relies only upon itself (and hence on its history or evolution
from the "primitive community of believers") for
its determination of the truth of Revelation itself.
according to the point of view expressed by the Cardinal,
the "essential meaning to be given to tradition"
is not the result of an immutable truth revealed by God,
but results from the truth which the "perceiving subject"
constitutes in Revelation in an historically gradual, progressive
way because the development of the "receiving subject"
in its own self-awareness is gradual and progressive.
notion that truth only exists thanks to the thinking subject,
who imparts truth to its object, is necessarily associated
with the other powerful notion in secular thought: that
of progress, understood as progress in consciousness...and
which can never have, resting as it does on such a basis,
a final term or transcendent goal.
will to introduce into the concept of Revelation the notion
that the subject to whom it is addressed constitutes the
message's meaning, leads necessarily to a corruption of
both concepts, Revelation and Tradition. Revelation is no
longer taken as a self-contained body of events and teachings
of exclusively supernatural origin, which the subject for
whom it is destined - for the salvation of whom these "deeds
and values" have been revealed - must accept and keep
without any alteration whatsoever, because he finds himself
presented with truths which do not depend upon himself,
but which come from God. Likewise, tradition is falsified
by this conception, because it no longer expresses the idea
of a "deposit of Faith" divine in origin, kept
for 19 centuries and resulting from Scripture and Tradition
preserved and taught by the Church's magisterium. It no
longer signifies a "depositum" to which
no new interpretation can be given.
the contrary, this new notion of tradition expresses an
idea that is not Catholic. Rather, it has a secular and
Protestant origin. It is the idea that the Church, as receiving
subject, even as it constitutes essentially and by degrees
the truth of Revelation, equally constitutes by degrees
the truth of tradition in the framework of a process, of
which one can see no end "ad quem," and
which has no other point of reference than the consciousness
that the Church is supposed to have of itself, a Church
which examines itself by using the categories which come
from profane philosophies (Kant, Heidegger, and the like,
instead of St. Thomas Aquinas).
effect of this rethinking came to the fore at Vatican Council
II, when we saw a new definition of the Church given, a
definition that contradicts what the Church herself has
taught (by her true tradition) for 19 centuries. We are
referring to the notorious "subsistit in"
of Lumen Gentium §8, according to which the Catholic
Church is no longer the one and only Church of Christ, but
that it subsists in her in the same way as in other entities
capable of leading to salvation (the so-called "separated
brethren" and perhaps even the non-Christians). Cardinal
Ratzinger himself confirms, in the above-cited passage,
that during the debates at the Council on the topics of
Revelation, Scripture and Tradition, he contributed to this
new understanding. The ultimate result of this change is
to be seen in the theological and liturgical chaos currently
prevailing in the Church.
IRRATIONAL NOTION OF TRADITION
thus understood is also presented as a "living process"
of the Church, which "becomes history" by opening
towards new understandings and which is opposed to the idea
of Revelation held by neo-scholastic intellectualism, which
would merely be the product of the "pre-fab" logic
of St. Thomas. Cardinal Ratzinger uses this concept of "development"
when he recounts the opposition which the Theological Faculty
of Munich formulated against the proclamation of the dogma
of the Assumption. The opposition was based on the affirmation
of an "expert," Professor Altaner, patrologist,
according to whom "the doctrine of Mary's bodily Assumption
into heaven was unknown before the fifth century; this doctrine,
therefore, he argued, could not belong to the ‘apostolic
tradition'" (op. cit., p.58). The affirmations
of the specialist in question are contested, and can also
be explained by the desire, which was then quite keen in
certain Catholic circles, to enter into the good graces
of the Protestants, notoriously hostile because of their
heresy concerning the person and the cult of the Blessed
Virgin. Cardinal Ratzinger observes that, in this case,
Professor Altaner was using a restricted conception of tradition,
because, in fact, "they were identifying tradition
and textual proofs."
then does Cardinal Ratzinger justify the dogmatic definition
given by Pope Pius XII? with, perhaps, the same arguments
which Pope Pius XII used to justify it, namely, that the
Assumption of the holy Mother of God is a truth that has
always been believed and taught by the Church, since, in
the writings which have come down to us, the holy Fathers
and ecclesiastical writers have spoken of it, not as something
new, but ''as a truth supported by Sacred Scripture and
which is rooted in the hearts of the faithful” (Dogmatic
Bull Munificentissimus Deus)? Not by a long shot.
Here is the Cardinal's argument:
if you conceive of "tradition" as the living process
whereby the Holy Spirit introduces us to the fullness of
truth and teaches us how to understand what previously we
could still not grasp (cf. Jn. 16:12-13), then subsequent
"remembering" (cf. Jn. 16:4, for instance)
can come to recognize what it had not caught sight of previously
and yet was already handed down in the original Word (op.
this passage, tradition is defined as "a living process"
of which the Holy Ghost is the artisan. The "process"
therefore is not linked to texts or even facts. Tradition,
according to the Catholic meaning of the word, however,
has never been understood as a process or a reality detached
from facts (which is what the dogmatic definition of the
Assumption demonstrates). The idea of "process"
contains the idea of truth which develops by degree thanks
to the thinking of man, and this development is here attributed
to the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost would be operating as
the pedagogue of the "understanding subject,"
and would act gradually by keeping Revelation open! The
Catholic notion of tradition, on the contrary, contains
the idea of conservation, of the transmission of the deposit
of the Faith which has been given once and for all (cf.
Jude, v.3), against every possible novelty or subsequent
the case of the Assumption, they were faced with a fact:
the cult which, from the origin of Christianity, professed
the bodily assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven,
and included the veneration of her empty tomb (which is,
even to this day, guarded by Christians, albeit the Orthodox).
The question was whether to sanction this faith by a dogmatic
definition. The fact was the same for 19 centuries, a mystery
of Faith continuously and universally professed by the faithful.
It had nothing to do with some "process" or "development."
The dogmatic definition of the Assumption has no need to
be seen as the expression of a "vital process,"
which succeeded by degrees in creating a new content of
faith, which for a long time had been certified by witnesses
and felt to belong to dogma. No novelty was introduced.
What the Cardinal writes when he says "subsequent 'remembering'
can come to recognize what it had not caught sight of previously
and was already handed down in the original Word,"
does not seem to us to fit the case. Here there is no question
of "subsequent remembering" because the belief
in the Assumption has always existed. It has always remained
constantly living and efficacious. For this same reason
- the perpetuity of this faith and this devotion - it is
certainly not possible to speak of something "not caught
sight of previously." The fact is that Cardinal Ratzinger,
even as he criticizes Professor Altaner, seems to justify
him by speaking of a "subsequent remembering,"
that is to say, something fabricated" post festum."
Later on, even if he judges him to have been wrong and justifies
the definition of the Assumption, he does so on the basis
of its being the expression of the "living process"
which, according to him, is of the essence of tradition;
he accepts it, that is, as an expression of the creativity
of the Church, "receiving subject" (and hence
constitutive) of Revelation. The Church would be, it seems,
a theologian who constructs Revelation in the same manner
as did the first "primitive community."
"NEW EXEGESIS" FOR THE "NEW THEOLOGY"
Ratzinger during an interview for Milestones
in the audience hall of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith (from the book).
interpretation of this dogmatic declaration, as everyone
can see for himself, is rather peculiar. In fact, it presents
the typical traits of the New Theology. The Cardinal's theology
is not Catholic theology; it is the new theology because
it makes the supernatural depend upon man's own thought
in order to keep Revelation open. It is not for nothing
that he was profoundly influenced - as he himself recognizes
- by Henri de Lubac!
commenting on this passage, it is necessary to add that
Cardinal Ratzinger's justification of his argument concerning
the role of the Holy Ghost is not supported by the Scripture
passages to which he refers. The first is the text in which
the Lord announces to the apostles that "the Spirit
of truth...will teach you all truth,“ even “things that
are to come.” We do not believe this “teaching,” which also
includes prophesy, applies to the case at hand. The second
text contains an announcement even more specific, which
surely does not apply here. It is when He is announcing
to them ahead of time the persecution they will suffer at
the hands of the Jews. The Lord says to them: “But these
things I have told you, that when the house shall come,
you may remember that I told you of them” (Jn. 16:4). The
"remembering" of which St. John speaks does not
refer to past facts, but is linked to future events: it
is linked to the prophetic announcement of the coming persecution
for the faith: You will remember tomorrow, Jesus says, what
I am telling you today! You will remember a specific event
that took place before witnesses. It has absolutely nothing
to do with the "living process" or nebulous "remembering"
mentioned by the Cardinal, notions which, taking their origin
in the "existential philosophies" of laymen and
literature, fade into something indeterminate, and which,
in any case, display not only a completely irrational notion
of tradition, but also one that is completely foreign to
true Catholic theology - which is certainly not the theology
of the liberal and modernist masters from whom Ratzinger
has constantly drawn his inspiration.
essential aspect of Cardinal Ratzinger's autobiography is
his attempt to disown any responsibility for the modernist
deviations that followed upon Vatican II. During the Council,
he was the theological advisor of Cardinal Frings, Archbishop
of Cologne, one of the prominent representatives of the
progressive wing, who had chosen him for this delicate and
important task precisely because of the "modern"
orientation of his theology.
Professor Ratzinger, then just 30 years old, took part in
the Council from the inside, aligned with the most radical
progressive theologians (the Rahners, de Lubacs, Congars,
etc.), those forming the "Rhone Alliance."
In his memoirs he seeks to downplay his participation in
this "Sodalitium." He writes that "the
theological and ecclesial drama of those years [does not]
belong in these memoirs" (p.121), but he makes exception
in order to comment upon certain questions about which he
clearly wishes to make a few points.
learn that Joseph Rat zinger was not in favor of rejecting
all the preparatory schemas, rejection which marked the
first manoeuver of the progressives at the Council.
[Cardinal Frings] now began to send me these texts regularly
in order to have my criticism and suggestions for improvement.
Naturally I took exception to certain things, but I found
no grounds for a radical rejection of what was being proposed.
It is true that the documents bore only weak traces of the
biblical and patristic renewal of the last decades, so that
they gave an impression of rigidity and narrowness through
their excessive dependency on scholastic theology. In other
words, they reflected more the thought of scholars than
that of shepherds. But I must say that they had a solid
foundation and had been carefully elaborated" (p.121).
the question of the liturgy, the Cardinal seeks to defend
the Council by maintaining that the prevailing orientation
was not especially revolutionary. His defense of the Council
on this point rests upon the following argument: no one
then could have foreseen the subsequent subversive and revolutionary
developments of the liturgical reform, developments which
were not justified (according to him) by the texts approved
by the Council.
a partisan of the liturgical movement at the beginning of
the Council...I saw in the elaboration of the Constitution
on the Liturgy, which incorporated all the essential discoveries
of the liturgical movement, a magnificent start for the
Church assembly, and I counselled Card. Frings accordingly.
I could not foresee that the negative aspects of the liturgical
movement would reappear more vigorous than ever, leading
straight to the self-destruction of the liturgy.
to the Cardinal, then, the Council approved, without having
well calculated the dangers, a document that was going to
allow the negative developments which we well know and which
are still at work. The Cardinal says that neither he nor
others could foresee it. Yet, according to the Cardinal's
own ideas, a conciliar document should be understood as
the expression of the "living process" directed
by the Holy Ghost, which for him is the essence of tradition.
One wonders how this "living process" could have
been suddenly stricken by a spontaneous, long-term necrosis.
If the conciliar document on the liturgy indirectly contributed
to the negative effects which followed, this would mean
that it contained ambiguities or dangerous laxities. Is
it to be thought, then, that the drafting of this text,
which directly or indirectly is not good (because, one way
or another, it has served as a cover for the "auto-destruction"
of the liturgy), was inspired by the Third Person of the
Most Blessed Trinity?
also find another demonstration of the way in which the
Cardinal's concept of tradition was not Catholic: the creativity
of the Church, constitutive subject of Revelation, which
is actualized by degrees in the course of "salvation
history," would have allowed initiatives which have
shown themselves to be disastrous, because they have allowed
the ruination of the liturgy. In fact, the preparatory schema
on the liturgy was the only one not rejected by the progressives
who dominated in the Council, but only because it had already
been corrupted by the "essential conquests of the Liturgical
Movement, " that is to say, by a manner of understanding
the liturgy which only initially fits into Catholic tradition.
question of the liturgy justifiably occupies the thoughts
of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith. Confronted with the prevailing liturgical chaos,
what can be the remedy? Most certainly, he avoids highlighting
the theologically ambiguous character of the Mass of Pope
Paul VI, which is one of the principal causes of the current
chaos. Nonetheless, in his Milestones, there is a
telling page on the topic, concerning the promulgation of
the Novus Ordo Missae of Pope Paul VI. The Cardinal
declares himself to be "dismayed by the prohibition
of the old missal, since nothing of the sort had ever happened
in the entire history of the liturgy" (p.146). (The
fact is that the Missale Romanum codified by Pope
St. Pius V was never prohibited by Pope Paul VI.)
any case, Cardinal Ratzinger recounts the truth concerning
the missal of St. Pius V, which was not created by this
Pope, for it was not a new missal. Faced with Protestant
infiltrations into the liturgy, in 1570, Pope St. Pius V:
that now the Missale Romanum - the missal of the
city of Rome - was to be introduced as reliably Catholic
in every place that could not demonstrate its liturgy to
be at least two hundred years old….The prohibition of this
missal that was now decreed,...introduced a breach into
the history of the liturgy whose consequences could only
be tragic…[T]he old building was demolished, and another
was built…[T]his has caused us great harm (op. cit.,
remarks are quite true. What is to be done?
of liturgical awareness, a liturgical reconciliation that
again recognizes the unity of the history of the liturgy
and that understands Vatican II, not as a breach, but as
a stage of development: these things are urgently needed
for the life of the Church. I am convinced that the crisis
in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large
extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy, which at
times has even come to be conceived of etsi Deus non
daretur…Then the community is celebrating only itself,
an activity that is utterly fruitless…This is why we need
a new Liturgical Movement, which will call to life the real
heritage of the Second Vatican Council (ibid.).
making a substantially correct analysis, Cardinal Ratzinger
comes to a disconcerting conclusion: what is needed is a
new "liturgical movement," one that will "call
to life the real heritage of the Second Vatican Council"!
He cannot let go of Vatican II, which would appear to be
the anchor of salvation. The solution is not to go back
to the genuine tradition of the Church; no, it is necessary
to return to the real Vatican II, whose authentic meaning
has still not been understood!
Cardinal does not know how to think in terms other than
evolution towards the new: Vatican II must not be seen as
a break with tradition (which, in fact, it was) but rather
as a "moment of evolution," a stage of development.
Pressed to identify the term of the development, the answer
is, towards something new, and in this particular case,
towards a "new liturgical movement." The "liturgical
reconciliation" of which he speaks does not in any
way express a recognition of the rights of the true Catholic
tradition. It means, on the contrary, reconciliation with
Vatican II, by allowing the genuine innovative development
(which is, of course, not the same as that of the destroyers
of the liturgy) thanks to a new liturgical movement! We
must "return" to the (merely pastoral) Council
which denied, in black and white, that the Catholic Church
is the one Church of Christ, the one ark of salvation! We
must return to the Council, which sought to establish the
truth of religion on individual liberty of conscience, and
not on revealed truth! We must "return" to the
Council, which sought to deny the responsibility of the
Jews in the crucifixion of the Lord, in contradiction to
the categoric testimony of the Gospels. The solution would
be a new liturgical movement, as if the horrific errors
of the first one were not enough. It is quite possible that
the encouragement given by the Cardinal to the charismatic
movements which are daily making inroads in the Church by
infecting it with a corrupt spirituality originating in
the worst Protestant sects (Quakers, Pentecostals, etc.)
should be seen in the light of an attempt to give rise,
whatever it may take, to "a new liturgical movement."
These remarks describing the Council as a "stage of
development" and a "new movement" which would
complete the process show that we are witnessing a recrudescence
of progressive vigor .
Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith, at the signing of the Apostolic
Constitution that promulgated the 1983 Code of
Canaon Law, Vatican City, January 25, 1983 (from
our author repeats almost as a refrain that Vatican II has
not been understood. Concerning the document Dei Verbum,
the Constitution on Divine Revelation, he says that it "has
yet to be truly received." In general, "we still
have before us the task of communicating what the Council
actually said to the Church at large and, beyond that, of
developing its implications" (ibid, p.129).
So, 32 years after the Council's closure, they tell us that
it has still not been properly understood and that it is
necessary to rediscover its authentic meaning. It remains
to ask how the Council has not been understood, and by whose
Cardinal places himself in parallel with the Council: just
as the latter has not yet been understood, neither has he.
We have seen that he was not in favor of the progressives'
integral rejection of the preparatory schemas. Moreover,
we learn that his own opposition to the official schema
on the Sources of Divine Revelation has not been correctly
appreciated either, because actually he had wanted to express
the concept of Revelation he holds to be in harmony with
tradition. Just as at the time when he was defending his
doctoral thesis, his thinking had not been understood by
Professor Schmaus, so also, the Cardinal maintains, it was
not well understood at the Council.
was filled with consternation by the increasingly revolutionary
development at the Council:
impression grew steadily that nothing was now stable in
the Church, that everything was open to revision. More and
more the Council appeared to be like a great Church parliament
that could change everything and reshape everything according
to its own desires. Very clearly resentment was growing
against Rome and against the Curia, which appeared to be
the real enemy of everything that was new and progressive.
The disputes at the Council were more and more portrayed
according to the party model of modern parliamentarism….For
believers, it was a remarkable phenomenon that their bishops
seemed to show a different face in Rome from the one they
wore at home. Shepherds who had been considered strict conservatives
suddenly appeared to be spokesmen for progressivism. But
were they doing this all on their own? The role that theologians
had assumed at the Council was creating ever more clearly
a new confidence among scholars, who now understood themselves
to be the truly knowledgeable experts in the faith and therefore
no longer subordinate to the shepherds….But now in the Catholic
Church all of this - at least in the popular consciousness
- was up once again for revision, and even the Creed no
longer appeared untouchable but seemed rather subject to
the control of scholars. Behind this tendency to dominance
by specialists one could already detect something else:
the idea of an ecclesial sovereignty of the people in which
the people itself determines what it wants to understand
by Church... (ibid, pp.132-134).
Ratzinger effectively evokes the terrible spirit of revolutionary
agitation which at a certain point seized the majority of
the Council members, and, without intending it, he confirms
the remark that Archbishop Lefebvre made, that, at a certain
point, Satan had taken hold of the Council. The will to
change everything, the mania for novelty at any price born
of hatred against the principle of authority, against Rome
and the institution of the papacy: Were we to conclude that
such things were inspired by the Holy Ghost? They could
only come from the Devil. The agitation which took possession
of the Church then has still not abated; moreover, it is
hard to imagine what pressure from the Vatican or what authority
could effectively curb bishops and theologians today.
by the direction events were taking, Ratzinger, at a conference
held at the University of Munster, "tried to sound
a first warning signal, but few if any noticed" (p.134).
He was even so insistent in the remarks he delivered at
the Catholic Day held at Bamberg in 1966 that Cardinal Dopfner
was "astonished" by the "conservative accent"
that he perceived (ibid).
the basis of these incisive declarations, the Cardinal places
himself on the side of those who, in the terrible post-conciliar
period, "had redefined their positions," concerned
for the future of the Faith. But, let us note, for him,
there was no question of "redefining" his position:
From the moment when he claimed that he had not been well
understood, that is to say, from the time of his study of
the writings of St. Bonaventure, there has been no change.
It is clear that Cardinal Ratzinger considers that his position
in the post-conciliar period, and even now, is substantially
the same as the one he held as a researcher when he was
accused (and quite rightly) of wanting to elaborate a subjectivist
conception of Revelation. What is striking is that in this
autobiography, there is no self-criticism: those who accused
him of being a liberal and a modernist simply have not understood
his thinking. Likewise, those who accuse Vatican II because
of the disastrous situation in the Church which has resulted
also have not understood Vatican II. Or rather, the history
- and the analysis - of Vatican II are yet to be accomplished.
remarks come across as a fastidious apologia. Cardinal Ratzinger
seems to have learned nothing from all that has happened.
He is only concerned with showing the continuity of his
theology, believing that by so doing he is defending both
himself and Vatican II. From this defense a certain image
of Cardinal Ratzinger as restorer of the Faith has been
created; and it is an image in which many still believe.
However, it is only blatant mystification.
best known work of the Cardinal is the book, Introduction
to Christianity, published in 1968 and translated into
17 languages. He speaks of it with satisfaction. Not withstanding,
the Christology that he sets forth is scarcely orthodox.
Sometimes he only very narrowly avoids the theology of heretics,
which has been passively absorbed by the majority of Catholic
theologians. He also affirms that Jesus the Messiah is a
product of the faith of the primitive community: "He
is the One who died on the cross, and Who, to the eyes of
faith, rose" (Italian ed., Brescia, 1971, 4th ed.,
p.171) .The Resurrection is not then an historical fact,
but a simple belief of the disciples. Like examples from
the book could be multiplied.
reputation of Ratzinger as restorer of the Church does not
rest on his works. It is probably owing to the fact that
several times he has quite clearly described certain disorders,
and that he has always dissociated himself from the most
extreme factions. But this takes away nothing from the modernist
foundation of his theological vision: "Ratzinger is
always like that: To counter the excesses, from which he
keeps his distance, he never proposes Catholic truth, but
rather an apparently more moderate error, which, nevertheless,
in the logic of error, leads to the same ruinous conclusions"
(SISINONO, no.6, 1993, p.6).
commentators have compared the Second Vatican Council to
the Estates General of the French Revolution. Developing
the analogy, one might say that Cardinal Ratzinger is a
Girondist. The members of that faction were certainly more
politically moderate than were the Jacobins, and especially
their left wing (to which, in theology, we could compare
the Kungs, Drewermanns, etc.), but they were no less
revolutionary. They wanted to accomplish the same objectives,
only in a more gradual, pragmatic manner. Their vision of
the world, though, was identical: human reason exalted and
placed in the center of the universe, democracy, bourgeois
individualism; identical, too, was their hatred of Christianity,
their desire to confiscate the goods of the Church, etc.
his autobiography nor his book-length interview shows us
a Ratzinger different from the one we have known. We can
only hope for a miracle, that he might one day soon decide
to become an effective Prefect for the Doctrine of the Faith,
and intervene authoritatively according to the Church's
own theology (and not his own personal one) against the
Reign of Error which has been installed in the Catholic
world for too long.
from Courrier de Rome, December 1998)
SiSiNoNo article reviewed by Bishop Richard Williamson in
his monthly Letter to Friends and Benefactors (April 2,
1999) will appear here in its English translation starting
in July, 1999.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth;
The Church at the End of the Millennium, an interview
with Peter Seewald (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997).
Cited passages are taken from this English language version.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Milestones; Memoirs
1927-1977(SanFrancisco: IgnatiusPress, 1998). Passages
cited refer to this English language version.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)